Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

A spatial-explicit dynamic vegetation model that couples carbon, water, and nitrogen processes for arid and semi-arid ecosystems


Arid and semiarid ecosystems, or dryland, are important to global biogeochemical cycles. Dryland’s community structure and vegetation dynamics as well as biogeochemical cycles are sensitive to changes in climate and atmospheric composition. Vegetation dynamic models has been applied in global change studies, but the complex interactions among the carbon (C), water, and nitrogen (N) cycles have not been adequately addressed in the current models. In this study, a process-based vegetation dynamic model was developed to study the responses of dryland ecosystems to environmental changes, emphasizing on the interactions among the C, water, and N processes. To address the interactions between the C and water processes, it not only considers the effects of annual precipitation on vegetation distribution and soil moisture on organic matter (SOM) decomposition, but also explicitly models root competition for water and the water compensation processes. To address the interactions between C and N processes, it models the soil inorganic mater processes, such as N mineralization/immobilization, denitrification/nitrification, and N leaching, as well as the root competition for soil N. The model was parameterized for major plant functional types and evaluated against field observations.


process-based model; arid ecosystem; C cycle; vegetation dynamics

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